Nov. 30, 2013
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - With wins over USC and No. 2 Kansas in the first two rounds of the Battle 4 Atlantis already on the ledger, Villanova (6-0 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST) now gets set for a clash with a 7-0 Iowa team that rolled into the finals with a convincing victory over UTEP in the first semifinal on Friday night.
The championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis will take place at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday at Imperial Arena here in the Atlantis resort. The game will be televised by NBC Sports Network and the radio call can be heard in Philadelphia on CBS Sports Radio 610.
The Wildcats must make a quick turnaround after a hard-fought 63-59 triumph over the No. 2 team in the nation that ended just before midnight eastern time on Friday. After scoring 94 points in the win on Thanksgiving Day over USC, VU leaned on its defense to pull it through against the Jayhawks. Kansas was limited to .389 shooting from the floor by the `Cats and that included a 2-of-11 mark from beyond the 3-point arc.
Perimeter defense will be important against a deep and experienced Hawkeye squad which converts .364 of its attempts from long range. What's more, Iowa has been difficult to score against too, limiting opponents to 57.1 ppg in their seven game winning streak to open the year.
Iowa is led in scoring at 15.7 ppg by Roy Devyn Marble and features nine players scoring 5.3 points or more per contest. The Hawkeyes have out-rebounded their opponents by more than 10 per game.
Villanova has held its opponents to 63.3 ppg and that will be tested by a potent unit that has averaged 89.9 ppg in the early going.
Against Kansas, the Wildcats were able to limit fast break opportunities and that helped the defensive cause according to head coach Jay Wright.
"We were trying to get us in transition and not let them get in transition," explained Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. "We really didn't get anything in transition but we did a pretty good job at limiting them in transition."
This is the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools and all have come on neutral courts. The Wildcats own a 3-1 series edge and won the last meeting in the 2006 Paradise Jam third place game 89-60.
Villanova is seeking to claim its first in-season tournament title since taking the 2009 O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Classic with a 77-67 victory over Mississippi.